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Helpful hunting tips to open 2018.

Gundog energy: Giving your hunting dog a midday break is a great idea. A snack is a good. A candy bar will re-energize your dog just like it does for you. Be very careful however, not to give your dog products that contain baker's chocolate. Their systems cannot digest it.

Prevent rust on broad heads: Packing your arrows around in their quiver all season can have harmful effects on some broad heads. Rust can form on some broadhead surfaces after exposure to the elements. Coat your points with petroleum jelly. It is odorless and will keep moister away from your cutting edges.

Beware of thick gloves: Big, thick gloves are a lifesaver in cold, harsh weather. But be careful when shooting with heavy gloves. Often the size of your trigger finger in the glove is so big that premature discharge occurs when your finger enters the trigger guard. You may have to remove your glove to shoot safely.

Dry feet are warm feet: Rubber boots not only keep your feet dry from the outside, they quite often keep your feet damp from the inside. If your boots cause your feet to perspire, that dampness can cause your feet to get cold. Take along an extra pair of dry socks and change into them at midday. Dry feet are warm feet.

Hard breath: Hunters who use scopes in harsh, cold weather conditions should take care where they carry their and hold their guns. Your warm, moist breath can condense and freeze on the scope lens, making you blind when the shot comes.

Gundog care: Don't be fooled into thinking your dog is warm when left in a portable kennel inside a vehicle on a cold night during a hunting trip. It takes only three hours for the temperature inside the vehicle to reach that of the outside. Use a kennel cover to keep the dog's body heat where it is needed.

Turkey hunting safety: Many factors are important to a turkey hunter's safety. Often overlooked is fatigue. Many early mornings in a row can cause us to be too tired to make quick, accurate decisions. Hunt when you can ... rest when you need to.

Only the shadow knows: Most bowhunters know how to set their stands to keep the wind in their favor. Sunlight should also be considered. Where your shadow falls in relationship to where you expect the deer to be, matters. The movement of your shadow as you draw your arrow can spook the deer.

Tree stand safety: Anytime you are in an elevated hunting position you must consider safety. Don't wait until you are in the stand to fasten your safety belt or harness. Eighty percent of tree stand falls occur when you are entering or leaving the stand -- not while you are sitting in it.

Changing chokes: Pheasant hunters should be prepared to change the choke of their shotgun as the season progresses. Open chokes are best for early season birds that are relaxed and holding tight. Heavily pressured, late season pheasant will run more and flush further out, requiring tighter patterns.

Calling all deer: The grunt call is a very successful device used for bringing deer into your shooting radius. Use the grunt call every 15 to 20 minutes while on your stand. Bucks in the rut may travel great distances looking for does. He may have been a mile away 15 minutes ago, but now he's in earshot of your call. Use the grunt call even without seeing the deer first.

Working one duck: Duck hunters sometimes make the mistake of trying to call to a whole flock of ducks. To be more successful, watch the lead bird in the flock and pretend it's the only one up there. If your calling can fool that duck, the rest will most often follow.

Mano-a-mano: Quite often mature gobblers "hang-up" just out of range when coming to your hen calls. Change your tactics and make the clucks and yelps of an immature male turkey. Being challenged by a jake who got to the calling hen first will make him respond with a charge.

Disappearing with the flush: Quail hunters can get very frustrated when single birds cannot be found after the covey flush. Give these scared birds some time to relax and move around again. This will allow them to spread more scent, making them easier for your dog to find.

Rabbits under pressure: If the old cottontail you last fried was tough and stingy, try this approach. Put your bunny pieces in a pressure cooker for about 10 minutes, then fry them as usual. The meat will be tender, flavorful and will melt in your mouth.
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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Jan 5, 2018
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